Call Him What You Want, Kovalev Brings Valuable Experience

Whether you refer to him as “Alex” or “Alexei,” Kovalev has certainly made a name for himself within the NHL over his 18 year career. Between multiple stints with the New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins and the Montreal Canadiens, Kovalev’s most recent bounce landed him in Sunrise by way of Ottawa. It’s possible that suiting up for the Florida Panthers might be the last hoorah for the 6’1″ winger, who has hit and/or surpassed the 20 goal mark in 12 different seasons.

So far, Kovalev has tallied four points on two goals and two assists for the Cats. While his impact might currently be that of a role player to provide guidance and leadership to some of the newer, younger faces within the franchise, his on ice production shouldn’t necessarily be his only contribution. After all, he is a member of the elite 1,000-point club. He spent last year abroad, but just two seasons ago during which he only played 54 games, he netted a decent 13 goals and tacked on 13 assists for the Senators. [Read more...]

Florida Panthers Make It Official: Jonathan Huberdeau Stays!

 

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Jonathan Huberdeau. Image property of Panther Parkway

The Florida Panthers made it official shortly after the team rigorous practice on Monday, that after five games, rookie Jonathan Huberdeau is staying with the big club.  This is good news for a team that hasn’t had much so far while in the middle of a four game losing streak.  Despite being hit with injuries at the forward position, it would have been very difficult to send Huberdeau back to the minors for a number of reasons.

At this point in his young career he has nothing else left to prove by going back to juniors.  Scoring 72 points in 30 games last season, and 105 the season before, there really wasn’t much else for him to do.  So far this season the 19 year old former first round pick has one goal and two assists for three points, and even though those points all came on opening night, has been one of the more effective Panther forwards so far.  Playing on the second line, mostly with Peter Mueller and Alex Kovalev, the trio has created more scoring opportunities than the other forwards, and has used their speed and skill to their advantage.  Should they keep that up, the points will come.  With injuries to forward still cramping the Panthers, rookie Drew Shore was put on a line with Mueller and Huberdeau Saturday night, and was the most effective line of the game. 

Huberdeau has been averaging close to 16 mintues per nght, and is seeing time on the power play, which puts him in situations where he can succeed.  And that is the key for the highly skilled youngster.  He has made some veteran plays already, with his keen passes, as well as his knowledge of where to be.  His “no look” pass to Scottie Upshall against Carolina was slick move that most players his age would never have had the confidence to make.  If he can continue to do those things, and continue to build his confidence, the sky really is the limit for him.

[Read more...]

Florida Panthers Scrimmage In Front Of Standing Room Only Fans

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Players salute after the scrimmage. Photo property of PantherParkway.com

Hockey is Back!  Last night in front of a standing room only crowd at the Saveology.com Iceplex, the Florida Panthers held a scrimmage in preparation for Saturday’s opening game against the Carolina Hurricanes.  If you didn’t get to the practice facility well before the start time of 7:00 P.M., you likely were forced to stand amongst the throngs of Panther faithful who came out to cheer on their team.  It was great to see so many familiar faces as well as numerous new ones in the crowd. 

The teams were divided into two squads (red & white), and played two 15 minute periods, and a couple sets of five minute overtimes.  There were a few scoring chances created, however I would say that I was most impressed with what I saw from Peter Mueller as well as Alex Kovalev.  There was a pretty pass from Mueller to Kovalev that took place right in front of where I stood, with goaltender Scott Clemmensen making the save.  After each 15 minute period was played, the two sides took turns at the shootout.  Among the noteable happenings, Jonathan Huberdeau, Peter Mueller, Mike Santorelli and Marek Svatos all scored off of Clemmensen. Shawn Matthias also scored top shelf on a nifty backhander.  Jose Theodore held his ground on shots from Stephen Weiss, Scottie Upshall, Kris Versteeg and Tomas Fleischmann.

[Read more...]

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